Geno Auriemma said it was just a hunch that he had in moving Caroline Doty back into the starting lineup Wednesday against Oakland and bringing star freshman Breanna Stewart off the bench for the first time.
The hunch worked out perfectly as Stewart finished with season-highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds and also had two blocks and two steals in 29 minutes. Doty, meanwhile, produced six points, two rebounds and one assist in 15 minutes.
Will Auriemma stick with this lineup moving forward?
“Just a hunch that it would be better for Caroline, better for us in some respects and better for Breanna,’’ Auriemma said. “So I just took a hunch, took a guess and see what happens. We’ll see. Nothing’s written in stone, but we’ll see.’’
Stewart, who was hardly fazed by the role reversal, scored at least 20 points for the fourth time in nine games. She also finished with eight offensive rebounds.
“I just want to go into the game and just play hard and just aggressive and help the win in any way possible,’’ Stewart said. “I did not know I had eight offensive rebounds. But Coach said that he was really going to pay attention too offensive rebounds (Wednesday) and that’s always something you can work on and I just wanted to try and be as aggressive as possible just rebounding the boards.’’
“Nice, Stewie,’’ UConn center Stefanie Dolson said after learning Stewart had eight offensive rebounds. “That’s great to hear that. That’s something she’s going to have to do a lot more often and just keep up and kind of grow from this night. Obviously, it’s against Oakland. But it’s something that she’s got to build off of. She can’t think that it’s only going to happen against these teams. It’s got to be against other teams. Stanford. Notre Dame. She’s got to do the same thing and not kind of relax in those ones.’’
With 142 points this season, Stewart needs 24 at Hartford Saturday to become the highest scoring freshman in team history after 10 games. Maya Moore scored 165 points in 2007-08.
Stewart currently leads the Huskies in rebounding (7.2) and blocks (1.6) and is second in scoring (15.8).